Dir. Ma-Dew of The Love of Siam and Home fame reprises his cinematic magic in Dew (Let’s Go Together). The flick is a sentimental and romantic drama about two young boys set in a not-so-friendly times for people of ‘their nature’.
The film which runs more than 2 hours, stars Ohm Pawat in the title role and Nont Sadanont Durongkhaweroj as Pob.
There are several themes or issues that the movie tackles and it succeeds in most of them. Among the most relevant are:
- Depicting a difficult times for homosexuals in Thailand during the late 1990s. People have been dying from AIDS and the school forces young boys who look “effeminate” to undergo training and make them ‘manly’. The film presents these scenes as matter-of-fact, increasing their impact
- A strong father figure and independent mother. Both the lead characters face tough challenges of familial nature. Coming out appears to be the last resort, if at all. Dew lives with his Mom and this becomes an underlying issue about his relationship with Pob. In the same way, Pob’s bully of a father makes him turn away from his family;
- Dew and Pob exhibit certain “gayness” in their behavior but in unique ways. One of the best scenes is a dance practice at the gym. Dew accepted his role as the ‘girl’ in a dance partnership with Pob. Using traditional partnership dynamics – it means Pob is dominant. Yet, Dew is the more aggressive and many times it was Pob who follows his lead. However, their identities and sexuality are not limited to “roles”. The film succeeded in showing the intricacies of a burgeoning gay relationship in a very dangerous environment;
- The graphics used in a few scenes were from Gary Priester who designed them. It was used in the movie by Dew to convey his feelings to Pob. These scenes were so romantic and emotional that I got teary eyed. Pob pretends to have not seen the figures, yet he did as he hesitates to respond. Dew knew, and that’s why he looks incredulous and a bit angry;
- Reincarnation is a theme that connects the past to the present. The film uses this “logic” to explain Pob’s reunion with Dew.
I don’t usually read movie reviews and feedback especially so when I really anticipate a movie. My guts told me Dew will be a good one and I was right. There are plenty who criticized the ending, but like Grey Rainbow, I don’t think they appreciated incorporation of the symbolism within.
Why is Dew hated by the gay boys? This is one of the common queries. The effeminate boys who were forced into training resent Dew because deep inside they know he was also gay. Thus, when their relationship became the talk, even the straight boys hate Dew out of their sympathy for Pob.
The acting is a highlight of this film. As of this writing, Nont has already won a Best Actor award from a minor organization in Thailand.
Nont Sadanont plays the local boy, Pob. He’s straight-forward, conveys himself quite well via his facial expressions. He is obviously intimidated by his Dad yet found his voice when he began to get intimate with Dew. He’s generous with his love for the other boy and is willing to sacrifice himself out of love. Sadanont – for a relative newcomer – matches Ohm Pawat scene for scene. He is more subtle with his acting as required by his character, but equally effective.
Ohm Pawat – definitely one of the best young dramatic actors working today – plays the loud and enigmatic Dew. He is a city boy thrown into a provincial setting out of duty. His Mom is a public servant and they are expected to switch places as her job requires. He has an assertive nature and his relationship with Pob becomes volatile out of his selfishness. Yet his efforts show how sincere he is with pleasing Pob.
Now, where did the movie go wrong? In as much as this film could be performance-base, certain scenes failed to show logic:
- How Dew met his ‘fate’ is hard to explain. The way the scene is presented leaves more questions than answers. If there is one major flaw, then this is it
- Certain scenes in the school when Pob returns as a teacher appear confusing. The film could have retained full impact if certain scene were cut
- Dew’s transformation could have been more impactful if they retain his sex. That is where the disconnect occurs with the audience.
Notwithstanding the flaws, Dew – Lets Go Together delivers a poignant, even subdued look at a young gay boys’ relationship that is as realistic as it is romantic.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars [See our Review Guide]